Week 16 – Adventures with a new sheet film

As much as I love my Crown Graphic, and enjoy the process of large format photography in general, the cost of my film of choice (Tri-X) has been keeping me from using it very much.  I can’t plonk down $100 for 50 sheets very often – unfortunately – so I feel like I need to save it for something different.  Something special, whatever that might be; something a bit more universal than my own work, like barns and trees and beaches.

Honestly, that attitude isn’t very much fun.  I dislike barriers.  So a couple of weeks ago when I was in my darkroom, looking once again at the container of DK50 sitting dormant (DK50 being the developer I use for sheet film) it came to me that the whole situation was ridiculous, and I consulted the internet for the cost of Ilford HP5.  While HP5 doesn’t completely have my heart in smaller formats, I find it to be a lovely film, and I have been using it regularly.  It’s also half the price of Tri-x. . . . sorry, Kodak, I ordered some.

I love it.  I’ve been doing a lot more large format photography in the past two weeks, and plan to continue.  With the agony of price removed, I feel free to use this camera for things I actually enjoy photographing, rather than trying to squash my creativity into a room it doesn’t usually visit.

My initial tests were very satisfactory. Here are two samples:louise water gun hp5 test april 2016 2 (1 of 1)Louise and Walt lego  HP5 4x5   (1 of 1)

I bribed my daughter into standing for me so I could see how it rendered skin tones in daylight, by telling her she could make a photo of me next.  For some reason, after she released the shutter, she grabbed one of the dark slides and pulled it a little, which did a great deal of damage to the portrait I made of her.  Sigh.  She also managed to catch me mid-blink, but here are the photographs anyway.

Louise backyard light leak  HP5 4x5   (1 of 1)me by louise back yard  HP5 4x5   (1 of 1)

All photographs Ilford HP5 in Crown Graphic, at ISO 200, tray processed in DK50 1:1 for 7 minutes.



9 thoughts on “Week 16 – Adventures with a new sheet film

  1. Great work!!
    I like how you are breaking the 21st century mental barrier of “4X5 = fine art” … you’ve shown us that we could use it once again as a handheld rangefinder (like the paparazzi from last century)!

    Also, you’ve gone and made me think seriously about getting myself a 4X5 field camera!

    oh, the GAS !!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you hit the nail on the head – I felt like if I was using large format I needed to make something that was much more Fine Art. . . . . but then again, what is fine art anyway? Didn’t Sally Mann use large format? I’m usually happiest when I throw distinctions and labels out the window : ) I can highly recommend the crown graphic hehe.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic! I love the 4×5 process as well, especially Tri-X! Once I kill off my box of HP5 I might go for another box of Tri-X, but for the summer I have 50 sheets of 100TMX for my trips! Also, DK-50 is a wonderful developer!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Same here with the barriers, so I got myself a bulk roll of Fomabrom 200 in 135 format and a big roll of Kodak Vision3 800T. I had surprisingly good results with HP5 in Silvermax developer and will get me a bulk roll of it as well. But I also noticed that the emulsion is highly sensitive for scratches and damage of any kind. But I am going to learn how to deal with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very nice Amy! I’m currently only using free and/or expired 4×5 film as I don’t feel confident enough yet to spend money on fresh film. Well, maybe I would feel more confident if I actually developed and printed those sheets. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How do you get tray developing your 4×5 sheets? I am a bit nervous as to whether to go that way or get a developing tank. Can you “see” what you are doing or is it really a dark darkroom.? How do you see the timer?
    Sorry for the daft questions but I’ve just built a 4×5 pin hole camera as my first foray into large format and like you are a little cost averse so any development advice would be greatly appreciated


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